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Working Paper 17-01: The Daily Microstructure of the Housing Market

Published: 2/2/2017
Author:

​Peter Chinloy, Temple University; William D. Larson, FHFA

Abstract:

The microstructure of the housing market includes periodic buyer liquidity constraints, high transaction costs, and bilateral negotiations on price and timing. These separately introduce daily price volatility and negative serial correlation that is suppressed at a monthly frequency. In a daily U.S. house price index, the annualized standard deviation of returns is 27 percent, versus 3 percent for monthly data. We attribute the daily volatility to repeating calendar-based liquidity price premiums (8 percentage points), transaction costs (7 pp), estimation and composition error (2 pp), and idiosyncratic shocks (10 pp). Monthly house price indices suggest housing has exceptionally high risk-adjusted returns. A daily index brings Sharpe ratios in line with other assets.

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